ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Whether you’re an avid fisherman or you fancy life on a luxury yacht, the Atlantic City Boat Show is the place to let your dreams run wild.

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“They’re like little kids at a candy store,” said Cathy Dennison of Waterford Works. “Excited–sitting up like little kids dreaming that they’re the owner.”

Sponsored by Progressive Insurance this is the biggest indoor boat show in the Northeast. The 500 boats on display range from a few thousand to over $1 million.

Considered by many as a nonessential luxury, recreational boat sales tanked during the recession. But industry experts say as the tide of consumer confidence rises, so do boat sales.

“For the last 5-6 years, you’ve seen a consistent lift in sales, anywhere from 5 to 10 percent each year,” Atlantic City Boat Show spokesperson Carrie Waible.

For many local dealers, who offer steep discounts this week, the boat show is a crucial kickoff to the season.

“The boat show can account for up to 60 percent of our total business for the year, so it’s very important for us,” Dean Mancini of Riptide Marine Center Bayville, New Jersey.

But the show isn’t just for buying boats, there’s every boating and fishing accessory you can imagine and lots of hands on displays, like climbing aboard a coast guard boat, operating a virtual reality boat and docking a model boat.

The boat show runs through Sunday in Atlantic City.

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